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2019 Volkswagen Jetta First Drive Review

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta First Drive Review

The 2019 Jetta is a car Volkswagen actually must get proper. Final yr, it was VW’s best-promoting mannequin in America by a large margin. And though the brand new Tiguan and Atlas have been propelled forward up to now this yr by America’s crossover obsession, the Jetta continues to be VW’s best-promoting car, beating the Passat and the Golf. Put merely, the brand new Jetta has obtained to be good.

Exterior and Inside

The little VW does make a superb first impression. Not that it was a troublesome process, however the brand new Jetta is way extra fascinating to take a look at than the previous mannequin. Nevertheless it’s a good-looking and fascinating sufficient car even compared with its contemporaries. The hexagonal grille is exclusive to VW and is a welcome break from the boring rectangle of the outgoing mannequin. The headlights get particular consideration in each basic reflector LED fashion and projector LED fashion. The reflector models have geometric lenses and the projectors have a glossy daytime-operating-mild design. The hood, flanks and tail all have sharp creases that add visible curiosity to the in any other case typical physique type.

The interior can also be an enormous enchancment over the drab previous Jetta. Gone is the flat sprint with rectangular vents and 0 design inspiration. As an alternative, the brand new Jetta will get a geometrical design, themed round hexagons and octagons. One giant geometric form envelopes the sprint from the left-aspect driver’s vent to the infotainment system. The whole lot on this part is canted towards the driving force for a neat cockpit really feel. The draw back, although, is that the infotainment controls are a bit exhausting to succeed in for the passenger.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line

The interior advantages from a extra numerous mixture of plastics with higher grains and really feel. There are nonetheless a couple of low cost-feeling plastics to be discovered, however they’re stored as far out of the best way of palms and eyes as attainable. The instrument cluster will get a pleasant replace with extra detailed analog dials on base fashions, and the VW Digital Cockpit display comes on prime-degree fashions. The infotainment is simply as straightforward to make use of as in another VW with a responsive touchscreen and straightforward-to-faucet digital buttons. The local weather management depends on easy dials and buttons, whether or not it is a guide or twin-zone automated system.

The Jetta’s interior is not good, although. One specific disappointment is that, regardless of the car being longer, wider and taller than the previous mannequin, it truly misplaced a little bit of area inside. Leg room is tighter entrance and rear, and there is much less headroom within the again. The trunk is 1.6 cubic ft smaller, too. There’s extra shoulder room entrance and rear, although, and the interior specs are nonetheless very near these of one of many key phase leaders, the Honda Civic. One different gripe: the seats are on the flat aspect, missing a lot lumbar help or bolstering, and the leatherette present in every part however the base S trim is not the best.

Engine and Transmission

A pointy new wrapper does not essentially make a superb car. It wants a strong powertrain and suspension to deliver every little thing collectively. Within the Jetta’s case, its mechanical bits are common at best. For 2019, VW decreased the Jetta’s engine choices to a single turbocharged 1.four-liter 4-cylinder producing 147 horsepower and 184 pound-ft of torque. The horsepower degree is simply on par with entry-degree compacts, however the torque matches compacts with bigger non-compulsory engines. The texture of the powerplant backs up that odd duality. It feels lots perky on the town with all of that down-low grunt. However when hustling up on-ramps and making an attempt to move, the Jetta feels sluggish.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line

That sluggish feeling is not helped by the engine’s raucous, indignant buzzing at excessive rpm. We additionally detected a whining noise at excessive rpm, however we suspect the noise is from the transmission, because the guide prototype we drove did not exhibit the noise. It is a lot happier, and truly fairly quiet, trundling alongside at low rpm. In fact, on the freeway at cruising speeds, the quieted engine provides strategy to fairly a little bit of wind noise across the A-pillars, maintaining the car from feeling notably refined at any velocity. A minimum of it does return excellent fuel financial system at 30 miles per gallon metropolis, forty freeway and 34 mixed, tying the Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla for second-best fuel financial system within the phase, and arising simply shy of the Civic.

Most Jettas shall be coupled to an eight-velocity automated, and it’s certainly a standard automated with a torque converter. It is a completely serviceable transmission. It shifts easily, which, because it typically does a few shifts to seek out the appropriate gear, is far appreciated. Placing it in Sport mode makes it extra prepared to carry gears and rev virtually to redline. The Guide mode works very properly, too. It isn’t lightning-quick like a VW DSG gearbox, however it shifts promptly and easily. It is a disgrace that there is no Jetta out there with shift paddles, as a result of manually shifting the eight-velocity is probably the most gratifying solution to drive the Jetta.

Surprisingly, Volkswagen will proceed providing the Jetta with a guide transmission, albeit on the bottom S trim degree. We did have the chance to drive a preproduction mannequin with the transmission, and it actually seems like an afterthought. The shifter motion is lengthy, rubbery and a bit notchy. The clutch is mild however with affordable suggestions.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line

What actually kills the enjoyable with the guide is the best way the revs hold up between shifts. We’re unsure if it is the result of a very heavy flywheel or some pc programming, however seconds cross earlier than the rpms begin falling after pushing within the clutch. The gearbox and its programming appear designed to make the car forgiving for sluggish-shifting drivers, not for many who are out for some enjoyable. Additional proof that VW’s coronary heart is not actually within the guide for the traditional Jettas (one will probably be obtainable on the upcoming GLI, and we anticipate it to be a lot better) is the truth that it isn’t even obtainable on the Jetta R-Line, the ostensibly sportiest mannequin presently out there with extra aggressive bodywork and brake-based mostly restricted-slip know-how.

Journey and Dealing with

Additionally a bit center-of-the-street is the Jetta’s journey and dealing with. VW beforehand revealed to us that it was tuning the Jetta’s suspension to be softer based mostly on buyer suggestions. And the Jetta does really feel fairly smooth. The result is a cushty experience over most minor bumps, undulations and different imperfections. Sadly, VW might have gone too far. Over bigger bumps, similar to railroad crossings, the Jetta will get crashy, touchdown with a heavy thud adopted by a little bit of float because it returns to its pure state. Some added damping would do the Jetta good.

VW’s compact sedan is not a very nice handler, both. It’s definitely safe and predictable, however it has a good quantity of physique roll, and it feels as if its limits are very low earlier than descending into understeer. On the plus aspect, the steering is fairly good. It is weighted nicely and is definitely fairly fast and responsive. Volkswagen’s transfer to ditch the extra trendy multilink unbiased rear suspension for a strong torsion beam within the again does not actually have an effect on the car in a unfavourable means. It does not really feel unsettled in bumpy curves, and the car feels strong, planted and shimmy-free elsewhere. Definitely common Jetta consumers will not discover or care.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line

Pricing and Options

The Jetta is comparatively nicely-outfitted and priced. It begins at a aggressive $19,395 for an S mannequin with a guide transmission, and $20,195 with an automated. For that price, the Jetta comes with alloy wheels, energy mirrors, automated lights, a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth and, for simply $450 extra, you will get automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. That package deal is obtainable for the guide-transmission mannequin, too.

The SE begins at $23,005 and sweetens the cope with a sunroof, leather-based-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, heated entrance seats, twin-zone automated local weather management, keyless entry and the S trim’s optionally available safety package deal as standard. Pricing tops out at about $27,795 for the SEL Premium, which has no choices. It provides features reminiscent of ambient lighting, the Digital Cockpit, a much bigger touchscreen, actual leather-based seats, lane-hold help, adaptive cruise management and a four hundred-watt Beats sound system. Put in perspective, these costs and feature units are proper according to the Honda Civic, and solely a bit costlier than the Mazda3. However rivals such because the Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus all are available at fairly a bit much less.


As a package deal, the Jetta feels solely slightly bit above common. It is lastly shed its relentlessly boring trappings to turn into engaging, and it presents good fuel financial system and a pleasant set of features. What hurts the Jetta is its middling experience and dealing with and uninspiring powertrain. Should you do not care about having a very partaking car, the newest Jetta will serve you simply wonderful. However if you need a bit extra soul in your commute, you would be a lot better off with a Civic, a Mazda3 and even the Jetta’s personal cousin, the Golf.

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